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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has made an announcement a few minutes ago, criticizing Trudeau on his damage towards Canadian confederation. He also spoke about his thoughts on last night’s federal election, stating that it was “the largest democratic mandate in Albertan history, voting for the CPC.”
Kenney spoke of his conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where he “told the PM that behind these [election] numbers lies a sense of alienation that must be taken seriously. Many Albertans feel betrayed… we are tired”
Kenney mentioned the strain that the federal government has placed on Alberta, “There have been suicides . . . we must give frustrated Albertans an opportunity to speak their minds. Moderates are now speaking to me about separation.”
Much of this ire owes itself to Ottawa’s equalization policy, which he deemed “fundamentally unfair.” Kenney demanded that complete reform to the equalization policy would be necessary to preserve the integrity of Canada’s economic union.
Last night, the Liberal Party failed to win a single seat in Alberta, as the Conservative Party swept the province. The only seat that wasn’t won by the Conservative Party was Edmonton-Strathcona, which was won by the NDP.
No federal party achieved any broad support from greater Canadian society. The Liberals relied solely upon Laurentian metropolitan centres, the Conservatives from rural and western Canada, and the Greens and NDP merely collecting a meagre number of seats from their strongholds. Overnight, it has become apparent that Canada is a deeply divided country.
No more so is this the case than in western Canada, whose frustration with the Liberal government was most starkly visible through the popular vote. Although the Liberal Party won the greatest number of seats, the Conservative Party collected the most votes; a testament to the first-past-the-post voting system. This phenomenon came as a result of the enormous majorities the Conservatives were able to muster in southern Alberta.
Despite some frustration with Andrew Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau, Kenney stated it would be a big mistake to force the Conservative leader out: “Andrew has earned the trust of Canadian Conservatives and certainly the right to contest the next election… he has my unequivocal support.”
Since Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, Alberta has long been frustrated by Ottawa’s implementation of the carbon tax and their handling of oil and gas resources within the province— so much so, that “Wexit,” or Western Exit of Canada, has been trending on Twitter.
At the end of Kenney’s press conference, he stated his intention to launch a full referendum on equalization. He stated that Alberta will force the issue of equalization “into the national agenda come hell or highwater.”
If Ottawa chooses to ignore Alberta’s pleas for fairness, Kenney sated that Justin Trudeau’s government “will pose a serious risk to national unity … I fear the alienation will go in a very serious direction.”